Primark famously boasted that "Once a style is identified it can take as little as 6 weeks to reach stores" and the likes of Zara, having their own manufacturing and distribution, can have catwalk inspired items in store within 2 weeks. Technology is speeding up that process, with designers often streaming their shows live and of course the LFW website has videos of all the shows uploaded pretty quickly. Social Media has opened up communication across the globe and sees outfits tweeted and talked about within minutes. Retailers can see easily what's trending and being talked about, and pick up on what's going to be hot for next season.
We don't realise just how much our clothing and style is influenced by the catwalk shows. Looking at some designs you'd wonder how on earth anyone would wear some of the more outlandish collections, but those ideas filter down to more wearable fashion in the High Street stores...style and colour trends in our shops are all inspired by the designs on display at London, New York, Paris and Milan.
You won't find High Street retailers attending the fashion shows, strictly the reserve of the media, photographers, high end boutique or niche stores and of course the who's on the 'Frow' much talked about celebrities. However some High Street brands are making it on to the Catwalk more recently, such as Topshop and Victoria's Secret. Topshop have collaborated with many top designers and celebrity collections have helped to bridge that chasm between high end designer fashion and High Street.
Earlier this year a report commissioned by the British Fashion Council on the "Value of Fashion" was presented to the House of Commons, which was the first comprehensive report of its kind, looking at everything from the top fashion houses to low priced retail chains, taking into account manufacturing, wholesale, retail, media and marketing businesses across the fashion sector. Fashion is the 15th largest industry in the UK directly employing 816,000 people, which then makes it the second biggest employer by sector.
The report concluded that the fashion industry is now worth £21 billion a year to the UK economy, with LFW being a big part of that. It could be worth as much as £37 billion in its wider context when tourism and industry related businesses are taken into account.
So LFW is over for some but for the industry it's just kick started a hive of activity as retailers rush to get their versions of what's coming off the catwalks into store.
Some of the highlights and designs that inspire what we will be seeing in-store soon.